What is sustainable milk (and why should you care)?

Learn how one local dairy co-op is leading the way in North Carolina’s sustainable dairy farming evolution.
Photo credit: ALH wordandimage, taken at a Maola member farm


Milk is a quintessential staple for our diet, providing 13 essential nutrients for children’s health – and parents, too! Now our standard glass of milk is doing more than providing wholesome dairy goodness and building strong bones, it’s also helping our environment.

As of 2020, the United States is ranked as the second-largest producer of dairy milk worldwide. Many dairy farms have become aware of their responsibility and are choosing to produce their milk through sustainable practices. Maola Local Dairies, which is owned by numerous family-owned dairy farms throughout North Carolina, has been at the forefront of local dairy sustainability efforts in the Mid-Atlantic region.


Photo credit: ALH wordandimage, taken at a Maola member farm

“Sustainability” seems to be one of those buzzwords that many groups use. However, for Maola’s family-owned dairy farms, many of which have been passed down for several generations, sustainability is a dedicated way of life. Maola’s farmers have adopted sustainable farming practices to ensure the longevity of not only their farms but also the environment that surrounds them. Their sustainability practices include initiatives like no-till farming, which preserves nutrients in the soil and reduces erosion, and the creation of riparian buffers, which make natural barriers between waterways and agriculture operations to reduce runoff.


Photo credit: Maola Milk

Maola assists their dairy farmers in developing sustainable solutions throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, which gives them a strong foundation for building a sustainable farming plan through the provision of resources and funding environmental best management practices. By leading with a collaborative approach, Maola has found that working with their family farms to make long-term sustainable changes has been more successful than simply pushing down sustainable requirements and expecting the farms to comply. Education is a key factor when it comes to successfully initiating these changes for the long-term, and the implementation of conservation practices outlined in those plans has helped to change the dialogue around sustainability in the region. By embracing sustainable dairy farming practices, shoppers will start to see more sustainable choices on shelf, like Maola Milk, for years to come.

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Photo credit: Maola Milk

By taking responsibility to limit their environmental impact to their communities, Maola will reach their goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Many of the sustainable agriculture best management practices not only improve soil health and water quality – but also lead to improved animal health. Maola’s dairy farmers in North Carolina recognize that they are a part of something bigger and embrace these sustainable practices because a healthy environment with cleaner soil, water, and air leads to healthy cows. And what’s best for the cows — a healthy environment and dedicated care from their farmers — is what makes the best fresh and locally-sourced milk for your family.

To learn more about Maola’s dedication to sustainability, visit maolamilk.com/sustainability. Ready to taste the difference for yourself? Find out where fresh, local, and sustainable Maola products are available in your community at maolamilk.com/where-to-buy/

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